EXCERPT FROM APPENDIX 1 from Don Featherstone's Battles With Model Soldiers
(The book that got me started.)

"Nothing in these pages is a dictate, no word says you must or you shall do it this way. On the contrary, the book sets out from the very beginning to stimulate the reader to think for himself, and to use what he has read merely as a foundation for efforts and ideas which reflect his own temperament and character. Only in this way will he obtain maximum satisfaction from the hobby of battling with model soldiers."

-Don Featherstone 1918 - 2013

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Rebels and Tories at Garland's Crossing.

The Newport Rifles and Belmont Blues rushing to the defense of the hamlet at St.Croix.
Trident Riflemen & Sash & Saber AWI American Infantry

After studying the table and reviewing what troops were available, I adjusted the terrain and began making up the scenario as I went. The game  is set in an alternate history where the attempt to stir rebellion in Nova Scotia met with greater success leading to a prolonged series of campaigns. The battle should probably have been called St.Croix but somehow became named for the nearby Garland's Crossing. 

I decided not to field my existing battalions as units but instead treated them as "brigades" and fielded all units as 8 strong "companies" (apart from the Hessian Jaegers who are waiting for the 8th man to be painted). The Rebels fielded 2 "brigades" of line infantry (The Belmont Blues (24) and the Canadians (16), 2 of militia and a company of rifles plus a small home defence company occupying the village in the middle. The British were divided into a brigade with 2 light infantry units 1 regular Tory and 1 mixed Indian and Canadian Irregulars, and a brigade with 1 Loyalist Highlander, 2 Grenadier and 1 Jaeger companies.  The Americans outnumbered the British 11:6 but the British had more light units and the only Elite troops. Besides, the Brits only had to slip past the Rebels, not defeat them. In retrospect, another unit of Indians or light infantry would not have been out of place to balance the scenario. 

The armies arrive.
All that remained was to dice for the turn of arrival for the Americans. 1 d6 <= the turn number to arrive for each column. By Turn 5 all columns had arrived, and the some of the British had slogged across the ford. The Loyalists were in an bit of a funk. They stopped on the edge of the ford, blocking the path and refused to move. (A 1 on their order check followed by another when their Commander tried the Follow Me! bit, on the next turn they repeated this trick and ignored the General as well. 5 consecutive one`s!)

At last the Tories got moving but the Americans were nicely deployed, Regulars on the road facing the British, one militia regiment on their left facing the Indian infested woods, another in reserve and Rifles working their way forward on the right. The British deployed with Indians in the woods on their right, Tory skirmishers out front with the Highlanders and Hessians in line behind them and to the right a bit, and the Jaegers facing the Riflemen. Soon the roar of musketry and clouds of smoke rolled up and down the line.

The Tory skirmish line found itself trading fire with twice their numbers and winning  the fight. When the Belmont Blues got tired of it, one company made a dash forward with the bayonet. Two would have been better but they were afraid of leaving too big a hole if something went wrong. The compact formation gave them a slight advantage in numbers but with Colonel Butler at hand, the Loyalists decided to stand and won the melee 2:1. The rest of the battalion was taking heavy casualties in a firefight with the highlanders and with 2 disorders (defeated + 25%), if the defeated company rolled a 1 on its rally it would rout, leaving the brigade (regiment)  shaken. They wavered but moments later General Warner showed up and they rallied. Situation stabilized.

The Indians in the woods had a clear advantage over the militia to start with but just as they had them on the ropes, their dice went cold and finally the militia hit, once and then box cars knocked the Indians into disorder. With only a 1/3 chance of rallying, they dropped back into the woods. On the other flank, it was tit for tat but eventually it was the Hessian Jaegers who fell back in disorder to rally at a longer range. Back on the main firing line, the Canadians were tearing the right hand Hessian company to shreds while the Loyalists finally took enough hits to go disordered and fell back just as the right hand Grenadiers broke.

The Canadians wheeled around to face the Highlanders and with the rallied Blues ready to move forward, it was time to do or die. The left hand Grenadiers charged but the Highlanders hesitated. The odds were in favour of the Grenadiers but they were held to a draw and then, on the 2nd try, they were defeated with heavy casualties just as the Black Watch also took heavy hits. With the main Brigade shaken and the second one nearly so, there was no hope of forcing a way through. The British fell back over the river to lick their wounds and find another road home.  
A bloody shambles (or righteous victory depending on which side of the table you are on.) 

The game was played solo using Hearts of Tin and took about 2 hours to set up and play. Just what I was looking for.


  1. Glad to hear the play-test went so well. The changes to the rules all make sense to me.

    I found the account of this battle much easier to follow than the one for the recent Bridge Over The River Skype, I suppose partly because it was smaller but mainly because it was easier to identify which unit was on which side and I didn't get Blue and Red mixed up. Or maybe I was just paying attention for a change :-)

    1. Thanks Steve. It was definitely a smaller simpler game to describe. Not only did the other have a press of units that look alike with similar names ( must work on that, there's only one a few like the Blue Guard that I can keep straight ) but it was also a convoluted 4 hour battle. I had trouble piercing it together myself the day after, even with the pictures for a guide, and probably 1/2 the action and moves got left out which didn't help.

  2. Agreed with Steve. Looks and sounds like it was a good fun game and successful playtest.
    Keeping track of which units (and which officers or other personalities) are on which side is a difficulty I have with many battle reports, not just yours, even some of my own sometimes. I wonder if using font colors in the names would help? Say, all of the units and personages from the red side have their names in red and all blue in blue? Just something that occurred to me.
    Regardless, I always enjoy your reports, the gaming, the pictures, and your thoughts on rules in theory and practice.

    1. Good suggestion, Jeff suggested something similar last year. It occurs to me that a few moments spent adding labels to photographs might help as well as better names or a proper OB. Hopefully when the play testing is done, the games can get more prep time with proper OB's

      Somehow it seems easier telling the British and Zulus apart. Another good reason for Colonial games!